Key note speech by the UNDP Uganda Country Director at the launch of the Renewable Energy Technologies and Earth Hour Campaign in Wakiso district

Mar 19, 2013

The Hon. Minister of Energy and Mineral Development,
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development,
Country Director, WWF,
All Representatives of Development partners here represented,
All representatives of the Private sector and Civil Society present,
Media houses present,
All invited guests in your respective capacities,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of UNDP, let me take this opportunity to thank you all for finding time to come and participate in this Renewable Energy Technology Transfer (RET) exhibition and Earth Hour Launch. In a special way I would like to thank the Minister for finding time in his busy schedule to officiate at this event.

Hon. Minister, ladies and gentlemen, as you are aware, energy is at the heart of major development challenges and opportunities that Uganda faces today. Access to sustainable modern energy services is often referred to as the missing MDG - and for obvious reasons - it is essential to poverty alleviation, improves health and helps provide basic human needs. It contributes to social inclusion and gender equality. And not least, it is an essential input to production.

However, Access to modern energy services remains one of the key challenges to Uganda's sustainable development path with about 88% of the population relying on biomass energy especially in rural areas peri-urban regions of Uganda with only 14% using improved cook stoves. This heavy reliance on biomass energy using inefficient technologies has contributed to the current 1% annual loss of forest cover and the resultant climate change impacts on agro-ecosystems and a direct cause to landslides and the loss of livelihoods. This has significant livelihood and development implications for poor households and micro-entrepreneurs of Uganda.

This exhibition is one of the UNDP interventions under the project on strengthening sustainable environment and natural resources management, climate change adaptation and mitigation in support of the government policy on renewable energy, national development plan and sustainable energy for all objectives.

Within the context of sustainable energy for all, the project is addressing renewable energy technology transfer barriers and reducing green house gas emissions arising out of inefficient use of biomass energy. The project is supporting the initiation and scaling up of efficient biomass energy solutions and exploring the utilization of of economic incentives for sustainable charcoal and renewable energy technology.

Hon Minister, UNDP in collaboration with UNCDF will be providing additional financing towards access to renewable energy technologies for the poor through the CleanStart Programme. In addition UNDP and GIZ are undertaking studies on the demand and supply sides of biomass utilization which is expected to inform future government policies and strategies on bioenergy use in Uganda.

In order to address sustainable biomass energy production and reduce land degradation, especially charcoal production, UNDP is supporting government in developing policy and legislative framework, in particular addressing barriers to adoption of sustainable and efficient charcoal production technologies.

As I conclude, I would like to extend my appreciation for government leadership implementing renewable energy policies and the development of biomass energy strategy. Government prioritisation of the efficient renewable and biomass energy technology transfer is key in increasing access to modern energy especially for heating, household cooking requirements while mitigating the impact of climate change impacts and achieving sustainable energy for all objectives.

It is my hope that this exhibition of renewable energy technologies will spur the growth of partnerships between government, private sector and users and increase adoption of modern energy services.

UNDP, remains committed to supporting government of Uganda in her efforts to provide clean energy for the majority of Ugandans.

Thank you for your attention.

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